So I’m a girl. Now that’s out of the way, I can also say I’m a hockey fan. Or maybe I’m a female hockey fan. Or a fan that happens to be female. Or the dreaded hockey scarlet letter “puck bunny.”
I have to admit, sometimes it’s maddening. When men like the sport and know a reasonable amount of information about it, it’s nothing special. Yet if I can hold an intelligent conversation about last night’s game, some men feel the need to balance a biscuit on my nose and tell me what “a good girl” I am.
As Beyonce says so aptly, if I were boy, all of this wouldn’t freakin’ matter (I may have paraphrased that a little).
I hate to admit it though, and men, brace yourselves for the shocker of a lifetime...women are fickle. Plain and simple. What one woman loves; another will hate and decry as “sexist.” What offends one; will thrill another.
I am a perfect example of this. I loved hockey from birth. It’s in my blood. I was born in Pittsburgh to a father who lived and died everything gold and black especially when it was on ice.
It wasn’t about how dreamy a young Mario Lemiuex was or Ron Francis’ ripped abs (can’t believe I just wrote that), but about spending time with my dad and genuinely growing to love the game.
During my prouder moments, I have explained icing and off-sides to clueless men, won three fantasy hockey championships in predominantly male leagues and cursed dumbass officiating to the point that would make even the saltiest sailor blush. I hate that “female” jerseys are pink and gag when women show up to hockey games in high heels and dresses because they think they are on a “date,” when really the guy they are with just wants to go to the damn game. But at the end of the day, I am still a girl, so there are those moments that I am not proud of...at all.
These are those moments that some men wait for because it erases credibility faster than a Mr. Clean magic eraser. I personally, as James can attest to, am a recovering hockey beard addict (see Peter Forsberg). In fact, I believe it was James who coined the phrase “you’d be all over him like he was made of beard.”
I notice that men go for the metaphorical low blow when women like players they find less than worthy (looking at you Todd Bertuzzi). Again, another classic James/Deirdre argument about Bertuzzi ended in James saying that “you just want to pork that ogre.”
But I can’t deny that some of these players are downright good looking. I think some of you guys need to get a grip and admit to that fact too. It’s the equivalent of me saying that Maria Sharapova is a great tennis player, but just OK looking. I would be a liar and delusional. The key is that good looking men aren’t the reason why I watch hockey, it’s a pleasant side effect.
I think the funniest thing is that people assume all women find the same thing attractive (insert that fickle comment here). When I checked out Club Scarlet, I laughed when I realized I was looking a glamour shot of Michael Nylander giving me his best soap opera stare.
A few years back, Jason Arnott (for the record reasonably good looking guy but not my type) got into a scuffle on ice that left him pissed off, sweaty and bleeding from a gash along his hairline. I am pretty sure I went through puberty again watching them escort him off the ice. That was a man right there.
So Alex Ovechkin can have his GQ photo shoot in a tuxedo with white tigers laying about, but I say give me the real sport any day of the week. There is no one size fits all idea for the elusive female hockey fan. At the end of the day, I say try anything and everything, even if it is goofy pink jerseys and Club Scarlet.
Because for the love of god, the sport needs some more fans and if it gets asses in seats then so be it.